obi pixel6propix aZKJEvydrNM unsplash

Top 9 Things to Check Before Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle

Buying a used vehicle can sometimes be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Buying a used car is a great way to save money and avoid the hefty prices of a brand-new vehicle. But how can assure yourself that a pre-owned vehicle is worth buying or not?

We’ll take a look at the top things to look for when shopping for a used vehicle, so you can buy your next car with peace of mind. 

Vehicle History

andrew winkler Ldy9g3R6SYI unsplash

When buying a used vehicle sometimes it can be hard to tell how it was treated before you buy it. Try and get as much information about the vehicle as you can, do your research. Using the VIN, vehicle identification number, you can request a vehicles history. Check for any major accidents, and if the vehicle has any recalls on it. Also, you’ll want to look for any service history the car may have.

Exterior Damage

nima sarram BRcXnIUywvg unsplash

When you buy a used vehicle, it’s bound to show its age, so you’ll want to do an inspection of the car before buying it. Look out for any rust spots, paint chips, or serious damage. Small amounts of rust shouldn’t be a deal break as the repairs for those are generally affordable depending on the extent of the damage. However, if the there are spots where it’s completely rusted through, you may want to continue the search.

Structural Issues

alex hudson jm5QMhob9Ns unsplash

While taking a look at the exterior of the vehicle, take a look at any frame issues. Ensure the car is level, check for dog-tracking, and if anything may be hanging out from under the car. Pop the hood and look for any mismatched panels. Every vehicle panel has the VIN on it, so check to see if any parts have been replaced. Pay close attention to the colors of each panel for any variation, which could indicate a new paint job, look for consistent panel gaps and alignment, and any clips or fasteners that look newer than the rest.

Pop The Hood

chad kirchoff xe e69j6 Ds unsplash

Other than structural damage which could be a safety concern, the other most important thing to check is the engine. Visually inspect the engine under the hood, look for any fluid leaks, corrosion, cracked hoses or belts, and missing bolts/parts. Check the oil dipsticks for any discoloration in the oil. Depending on where you buy your car and if it comes safetied, you might not need to stress too much about this part.


robert laursoo WHPOFFzY9gU unsplash

Tires can be an important tell on any hidden issues. Check for even tire tread wear, and if all four tires are the same. Uneven wear can suggest a poor alignment, which can indicate steering or suspension issues.


chuttersnap gts Eh4g1lk unsplash

A driver on average, drives about 20, 000 km’s per year. To see if the car you’re looking at has high mileage, divide the reading on the odometer by the vehicles age. A higher mileage vehicle typically tends to have more wear and tear.


samuele errico piccarini MyjVReZ5GLQ unsplash

This one is easy. Test out all the electronic components to ensure they’re working. Test out the sound system at full blast to test the speakers, ensure the A/C blows cold, and test to see if you’ve got heat for the winter.

Take a look at the fabric of the interior. Look for any stains or tears, or leather cracks on all the seats. The seats of a car usually take the biggest beating. However, the seats don’t have to be a deal breaker. A set of seat covers can easily resolve this problem.

Test Drive

why kei 8e2gal GIE8 unsplash

Depending on the age of the vehicle, the older it is you may want to give it a good test drive. Test out the steering, acceleration, braking and suspension. Tae it out on the highway to ensure the vehicle doesn’t struggle at higher speeds.

Professional Inspection

enis yavuz tZtgozUpZZc unsplash

Ready to buy a car? Before you do the last thing to do is take it into a trusted mechanics shop for a full inspection. As much as we love to do our research, only a mechanic would know best. They can see any underlying issues, or possible future issues. The inspection may cost you, however it’ll save you in the long run.

Now that you’re ready to start the search, be sure to checkout 401 Auto. 401 Auto has been a trusted dealer for over 10 years, and continues to provide people with the highest of quality vehicles and service. We also offer amazing financing solutions for all types of credit, and we also offer credit building packages to make your car buying experience that much easier.